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Assessing current genetic status of the Hainan gibbon using historical and demographic baselines: implications for conservation management of species of extreme rarity

Bryant, JV; Gottelli, D; Zeng, X; Hong, X; Chan, BP; Fellowes, JR; Zhang, Y; ... Turvey, ST; + view all (2016) Assessing current genetic status of the Hainan gibbon using historical and demographic baselines: implications for conservation management of species of extreme rarity. Molecular Ecology , 25 (15) pp. 3540-3556. 10.1111/mec.13716. Green open access

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Abstract

Evidence-based conservation planning is crucial for informing management decisions for species of extreme rarity, but collection of robust data on genetic status or other parameters can be extremely challenging for such species. The Hainan gibbon, possibly the world's rarest mammal, consists of a single population of c.25 individuals restricted to one protected area on Hainan Island, China, and has persisted for over 30 years at exceptionally low population size. Analysis of genotypes at 11 microsatellite loci from faecal samples for 36% of the current global population and tissue samples from 62% of existing historical museum specimens demonstrates limited current genetic diversity (Na=2.27, Ar=2.24, He =0.43); diversity has declined since the 19th century and even further within the last 30 years, representing declines of c.30% from historical levels (Na=3.36, Ar=3.29, He =0.63). Significant differentiation is seen between current and historical samples (FST =0.156, P=0.0315), and the current population exhibits extremely small Ne (current Ne =2.16). There is evidence for both a recent population bottleneck and an earlier bottleneck, with population size already reasonably low by the late 19th century (historical Ne =1162.96). Individuals in the current population are related at the level of half- to full-siblings between social groups, and full-siblings or parent-offspring within a social group, suggesting that inbreeding is likely to increase in the future. The species' current reduced genetic diversity must be considered during conservation planning, particularly for expectations of likely population recovery, indicating that intensive, carefully planned management is essential.

Type: Article
Title: Assessing current genetic status of the Hainan gibbon using historical and demographic baselines: implications for conservation management of species of extreme rarity
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/mec.13716
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1111/mec.13716
Language: English
Additional information: This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Bryant, JV; Gottelli, D; Zeng, X; Hong, X; Chan, BP; Fellowes, JR; Zhang, Y; (2016) Assessing current genetic status of the Hainan gibbon using historical and demographic baselines: implications for conservation management of species of extreme rarity. Molecular Ecology , 25 (15) pp. 3540-3556, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/mec.13716. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Keywords: Nomascus hainanus, critically endangered, bottleneck, conservation genetics, ghost alleles
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1497145
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